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Public law LA1020

Public law is one of the seven foundation subjects required for a qualifying law degree in England and Wales and is a core requirement of the University of London LLB and CertHE Common Law programmes.

This module is concerned with the core features of the UK constitution and examines the impact of both EU membership and Council of Europe membership. Emphasis is placed throughout on the changing nature of the UK constitution – in particular the move from a political to a more legal constitution – as well as the case for further change.

Topics covered

  • The Conceptual Framework of Public Law: Introducing Public Law. The UK Constitution and its Core Institutions. Parliamentary Supremacy. The Rule Of Law.
  • Executive and Legislative Functions: Limited Government and the Separation of Powers. Ministerial Accountability. Crown and Prerogative Powers. UK Primary Legislation. UK Delegated Legislation. Constitutional Conventions.
  • Multi-layered Governance: EU Legal and Governmental. Order EU Law and UK Constitutional Law Devolution.
  • Courts and the Constitution: Judicial Independence and Accountability. Principles of Judicial Review I: Illegality. Principles of JR II: Procedural Fairness. Principles of JR III: Irrationality and Proportionality.
  • Human Rights: Human Rights Protection. HRA Jurisprudence. HRA and Terrorism.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Explain the nature and purpose of constitutions including the ways in which governmental powers are generally allocated amongst the institutions of the state, and the way in which courts operate to review administrative action and protect basic rights
  • Describe the main institutions and legal characteristics of the EU and analyse the implications for the UK constitution
  • Assess the constitutional implications for the UK of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the role of the European Court of Human Rights
  • Understand the social and political context in which public law is situated
  • Evaluate suggestions for constitutional reform in the United Kingdom and the European Union
  • Conduct straightforward legal research, retrieving information from a range of data sources and including interpretation of textual and numerical data
  • Distinguish relevant facts and issues presented in a range of legal material
  • Interpret primary and secondary legal sources, including case law and statutes, to answer questions
  • Construct a coherent argument in response to oral or written stimuli.


3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

The essential reading for this course is the subject guide and reading pack provided. The extracts are from:

  • Le Sueur, A., M. Sunkin and J. Murkens Public law: text, cases and materials. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) second edition [ISBN 9780199644186].